TRACKING IRMA: Good sign as Irma winds down to 100mph


Hurricane Irma has weakened a bit more with the latest update. The storm is still a category 2 but winds have dropped to 100mph.

The track has remained mainly unchanged. The storm will continue to move up through the Florida peninsula and batter a path ahead of it. The good news is that the storm will weaken more and more as it moves farther over land and away from its warm water energy source.

This is rather interesting. As a storm weakens, it tends to get bigger. Irma was quite small when the winds were in the 175 mph, Cat 5 range. Now, it has expanded to cover the entire state of Florida. Hurricane force winds extend out 80 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds go out a whopping 415 miles! From Miami – all the way through the southern part of Georgia are experiencing tropical storm force winds right now!

The size of the storm plus our situation between a high pressure system to the north and Irma to the south will cause winds to pick up here tomorrow. The closer the two systems are, the higher the pressure gradient. That means stronger winds. We are under a Wind Advisory from 8am Monday to 2am Tuesday. Winds could be 20-30mph, with gusts around 40mph. Conditions will go downhill in the afternoon on Monday and then start to improve during the day on Tuesday.

The rain will also be heavy at times. We could pick up 1-2", with locally higher amounts.

8:00 P.M. UPDATE:

As of the 8 p.m. update, Hurricane Irma is still a force to be reckoned with. However, it has weakened again. The storm is still a category 2 but winds have dropped to 105mph.

It is currently moving to the NNE at 14mph. It is basically moving parallel to the west coast of Florida and continuing to bring high winds and heavy rain to everyone in its path. It seems to be on a path toward Port Charlotte, Venice, Sarasota and toward Tampa overnight. Storm surge has been and will continue to be one of the biggest concerns.

The storm will be a hurricane through the night and into Monday morning, then move into southwestern GA as a tropical storm by Monday afternoon.

Keep in mind that even though the storm is a little weaker… even a little weaker than forecasted, it is still a massive storm. Hurricane winds go out 80 miles and tropical storm force winds extend out 220 miles. The effects will still be far reaching. Strong winds can be felt from coast to coast in Florida.

Even though the storm will remain mainly to our west, we can still see pretty rough weather in the WBTV viewing area. Things will likely go downhill through the afternoon on Monday as the rain moves in. Winds will pick up and be the strongest from the late afternoon to the evening. By Tuesday morning, the winds should die down considerably, with showers through the day.

The WBTV viewing are is under a Wind Advisory from 8 a.m. Monday to 2 a.m. on Tuesday. Winds should be 20-30mph, with gusts of around 40mph.


5:00 P.M. UPDATE:

LOCATION...26.2N 81.8W

We continue to track Hurricane Irma. This morning, the storm made landfall at Cudjoe Key and then a second landdfall on Marco Island, Florida this afternoon. The storm is now a category 2 storm, with winds of 110mph.

That seems like good news but the truth of the matter is that the eventual impacts may not be that much different. It will continue to move up the west coast of Florida, pounding them with heavy rain and gusty winds. It will make progress today and into tonight. By Monday, the storm will weaken and move into southeast Georgia.

Here is some information from the National Hurricane Center:

The storm moved on shore at Marco Island. On the current forecast track, the eye of Irma should move near or over the west coast of the Florida Peninsula through Monday morning.  Irma should then move inland over northern Florida and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon.

What does that mean for us?

We are looking at a quiet night. There is one model bringing in rain overnight but most of them are holding most of the rain for the WBTV viewing area off until the second half of the day on Monday. Things will start to go downhill in the afternoon. Rain will pick up through the afternoon and evening. It will last into the night - becoming heavy at times.

As for the winds, those will also begin to pick up Monday afternoon. We could see winds of 20-30mph, with gusts over 40mph at times. We are under a Wind Advisory from 8am Monday to 2am Tuesday.

By Wednesday, the storm will be a thing of the past. In the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned to WBTV on air and online for the latest.

2:00 P.M. UPDATE:

Location - 25.61N 81.8W
About 35 miles...55 kilometers S of Naples, Florida
About 70 miles...115 kilometers S of Ft. Myers, Florida 
Maximum sustained winds - 120 mph...195 km/h
Present movement - North or 350 degrees at 12 mph...19 km/h
Minimum central pressure - 936 MB...27.64 inches

Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

That seems like good news – and it is. However, the overall impact hasn't changed much. The reason the storm has weakened a tad is because it is interacting with land, which is to be expected. Still, the eye of the storm is over the Gulf of Mexico. That means the storm will likely either strengthen a little or at least hold its own before making landfall later on Sunday around Fort Meyers, Florida.

Overall, the track hasn't changed much. It will remain mainly to our west. Still, the storm is so massive, we will be looking at wind gusts of around 40 mph and 1-3" of rain in the WBTV viewing area. The worst weather for us will likely be from Monday afternoon into the night.

On the forecast track, the center of Irma should move near or over the southwest and west coast of the Florida Peninsula through the afternoon and evening hours on Sunday.

From there, Irma is still on track to move up the west coast of Florida the rest of Sunday afternoon and evening. While the weakening is forecast, Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane while it moves near or along the west coast of Florida.The storm will be in southwest Georgia on Monday afternoon and move to the northwest from there.

Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220 miles (350 km).

- Meteorologist Leigh Brock

1:30 P.M. UPDATE: 

Hurricane Irma is currently lashing just about the entire state of Florida. Fortunately, for the WBTV viewing area, the track of the storm is keeping the center of circulation to our west. However, that doesn't mean we are totally dodging the bullet – so don't let your guard down yet.

Have you been outside much today? It feels like a fall day, right? Have you noticed the breeze picking up? That will only get stronger for the next 36 hours or so.

Obviously, we won't be getting hurricane force winds around here. Still, we aren't exactly used to even 40+ mph winds gusts. It isn't a bad idea to at least check trees to make sure there are no dangling limbs that could be thrown through a window. Bring in patio furniture and loose objects.

The concern isn't pure wind breaking your windows. The concern would be for things being picked up and thrown into your windows.

The wind could reach 30 mph by about midday on Monday. The highest gusts will likely be occur during the afternoon through the evening hours. Then winds will progressively scale back overnight. We should be back to a breeze on Tuesday. Gusts could be up to about 40 mph.

Then there is the rain.

Some models are bringing it in early on Monday morning. Most, however, are holding it back until Monday afternoon. Either way, if you wake up to a dry morning on Monday, don't think the forecast has changed and the day will go on as usual. The rain will just be here a bit later. The heaviest rain should fall from around Monday afternoon/evening and into the night. We could pick up 1-3" by the time all is said and done.

Our biggest concern may end up being power outages. Not everyone will lose power, obviously. However, there's no telling which of us will be the unlucky ones. At any rate, make sure you have food and water. Also, keep your cell phone charged at all times. That way, if the power goes out, you will be at 100%. You can always check out the WBTV weather app 24/7… power or no power.

- Meteorologist Leigh Brock


Location- 25.0N 81.5W

About 80 miles (125 km) SSE of Naples, Florida

About 115miles (180 km) SSE of Ft. Myers, Florida

Maximum sustained winds- 130 mph, 215 km/h

Present movement- N or 350 degrees at 9 mph. (15km/h)

Minimum central pressure... 933 mb... 27.55 inches

Irma made landfall at 9:10 a.m. this morning over Cudjoe Key as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130mph. For the Keys, this is the first Category 4 storm to hit since Hurricane Donna in 1960, which made landfall, ironically, on the same exact date that year- September 10. By the way-- today is also the climatological peak of Hurricane season, so maybe it's not such a coincidence after all.

This is the first time since records have been kept that there have been two consecutive Category 4 landfalls in the U.S. It has only been 16 days since Harvey's Texas landfall. Remarkably, prior to Harvey, it had been 4,323 days since the last major (Category 3+) hurricane landfall in the U.S. (Wilma in 2005).

Additionally, Irma's landfall pressure of 929 mb is the lowest for a U.S. landfalling hurricane since Katrina (920 mb), and the lowest Florida landfall since Andrew (922 mb).

The pressure has risen a little as of the 11 a.m. update, and Irma should start to weaken slightly upon interacting with more land over the southern Florida peninsula. The newest forecast "weakens" Irma back down to a Category 3 by this evening near the Fort Myers area, but still keeps it a major hurricane through the Tampa Bay area overnight.


Location - 24.5N 81.5W
About 20 miles...30 kilometers ESE of Key West, Florida
About 110 miles...180 kilometers S of Naples, Florida 
Maximum sustained winds - 130 mph...215 km/h
Present movement - NNW or 330 degrees at 8 mph...13 km/h
Minimum central pressure - 928 mb...27.41 inches

Hurricane Irma is about to make landfall in the lower Florida Keys with winds of 130 mph. As of 8 a.m. Sunday morning, the storm's strength remains nearly steady at 929 mb. Irma is expected to pick up a bit of an increase in forward speed later on Sunday, maintaining a Category 4 status while hugging the Florida Gulf Coast and heading north into the Tampa Bay area.

While gradual weakening is forecast, Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane while moving through the Florida Keys and near the west coast of Florida.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 220 miles.

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for (nearly) the entire state of Florida, and Tropical Storm Warnings extend as far north as the Atlanta metro. This is the first time in history that Atlanta has ever been under a Tropical Storm Warning.

- Meteorologist Lyndsay Tapases

5 A.M. UPDATE - 

Location - 24.1N 81.5W
About 40 miles...65 kilometers SSE of Key West, Florida
About 175 miles...225 kilometers S of Naples, Florida 
Maximum sustained winds - 130 mph...215 km/h
Present movement - Northwest or 325 degrees at 8 mph...13 km/h
Minimum central pressure - 928 MB...27.41 inches

Irma strengthened again overnight, and increased back to a Category 4 storm with maximum winds of 130 mph. As of 5 a.m. Sunday, parts of the Florida Keys were already experiencing wind gusts around 100 mph, and landfall is still a few hours away.

As of now, no additional strengthening is forecast prior to the storm's landfall within the next couple of hours. However, Hurricane Irma may not weaken again until Sunday evening.

The current track of Irma keeps the center of the storm along or just off-shore the Gulf Coast of Florida as it travels north, parallel to the coast. If this forecast verifies, this will be a worst-case scenario for the western parts of the Florida coast, as the entire coastline would remain in the front right quadrant of the storm to the northeast of the eye, where winds are most severe.

Beyond Florida, the forecast cone of uncertainty has continued to shift ever so slightly west, now through south Georgia then Alabama as a weakening Tropical Storm. So with that, we've continued to nudge our local forecast down slightly.

Conditions still deteriorate locally during the afternoon hours on Monday, with the heaviest rain and wind expected for Monday night and into early Tuesday morning. We expect 1-3" of rain and several hours of wind gusts to reach 40+ mph. Isolated gusts will be higher, and there remains a low tornado risk as well.

- Meteorologist Lyndsay Tapases

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